Godparenthood practice among civil servants and their families in Nord-Gudbrandsdalen in the 18th and 19th century. A comparison of two parishes, Lesja and Lom

The main goal of the paper is to investigate the practice of standing as, and choosing for own children, godparents for the civil servants and their families in these two parishes in two periods: the 1720s–1740s and the 1830s–1840s, as a part of the project described by Atle Døssland in this issue of Heimen.

The two parishes in this investigation are situated in a mountain area far away from any town, with a small number of civil servants and other elite people. But the baptisms in the church records shows that the civil servants must have had more visitors from their own kind living in the area, sometimes for a long time, but without leaving any other traces in the sources than godparenthood.

The peasant group of the area must also be divided in sub-groups based on levels of prosperity, from those with a high social standing who were owners of large, prosperous farms, down to cotters under such farms, living at a subsistence level. The investigation shows that the civil servants stood as godparents for all sub-groups of peasant in the first period. In the second, they increasingly limited their social relations to their own group and family, and the wealthier farmers, as found by Døssland in Hosanger.